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FTC Expands Its Google Antitrust Investigations 137

New submitter smithz writes "Bloomberg is reporting that the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is expanding its antitrust probe of Google Inc. to include scrutiny of its new Google+ social networking service. Google this week introduced changes to its search engine so that results feature photos, news and comments from Google+. The changes sparked a backlash from bloggers, privacy groups and competitors who said the inclusion of Google+ results unfairly promotes the company's products over other information on the Web. Before expanding the probe, FTC was already investigating Google for giving preference to its own services in search results and whether that practice violates antitrust laws. The agency is also examining whether the company is using its control of the Android mobile operating system to discourage smartphone makers from using rivals' applications. Google is facing similar investigations in Europe and South Korea."
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FTC Expands Its Google Antitrust Investigations

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  • by Intropy ( 2009018 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @05:01PM (#38700446)

    ...Katy Perry, who has one of the most popular Facebook pages but doesn't appear in the Search Plus results because she doesn't have a Google+ account.

    What's the compliant? You want the search results to display a link to her Google+ account that doesn't exist? You want her uncrawlable facebook page to come up in the search results? You want people who do have Google+ accounts not to have that page show up in the search results?

  • by NecroPuppy ( 222648 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @05:10PM (#38700512) Homepage

    It is three clicks to turn off this functionality.

    Seach settings, select to not use personalized search, and then save.

    Much more clear to use (or not use) than any change that Facebook ever made.

  • by bonch ( 38532 ) * on Saturday January 14, 2012 @05:19PM (#38700590)

    Just like it was easy to use Netscape instead of Internet Explorer, or switch to Linux from Windows 98.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @05:20PM (#38700600)
    Or you can just not use Google search. With the recent Kenya fiasco [] and all the crap that assholes like David Drummond (the guy who orchestrated the Kenya operation), Vic Gundotra (real names policy) and Andy Rubin (biggest hypocrite ever) are doing, I won't touch a Google product with a 10ft pole.
  • FUD (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @05:41PM (#38700772)

    I would like to see the FTC members investigated for how many of them own Apple or Microsoft products or stock. These companies are desperate to destroy Google, who has done nothing wrong and is driving them out of business, and it wouldn't surprise me that they would stock the government with their fanboys and shills to accomplish this.

    Nobody is forced to use Google products or services, they choose to do so because of Google's superiority and innovativeness. These charge are absolutely baseless and I look forward to Google being vindicated. Hopefully they file a countersuit afterwards for libel and harassment.

  • by anonymov ( 1768712 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @05:51PM (#38700844)

    As far as I can tell, you've got to opt-in in this "Google promoting their own services" as it doesn't work this way for me, so no sell.

    Without opting in, for katy+perry you get Katy Perry's official website as first result, no Google+ or Facebook, though it finds twitter and myspace among other results.

    Searching katy+perry+facebook gives you facebook page as top result.

    But what's funny, earching for katy+perry+google+plus gives as top result and as second, kinda like google demoting their own services.

  • by Nerdfest ( 867930 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @05:57PM (#38700892)
    Bonch and his puppet accounts are well known for posting pre-typed pro Apple or anti-Google as first posts. There are a couple of similar Microsoft shill acounts that are almost certainly paid astroturfers. Bonch and the others may or may not be paid. They get modded down regardless of content.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @06:16PM (#38701052)

    Oh look its you the shill, and you're back under a new username. []

    We're on to you. People aren't oblivious to a search engine complaining that their competition does better than them, and this stuff's been debunked a million times.

    One day when you get cancer, we'll all rejoice.

  • by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @07:33PM (#38701686) Journal

    As I understand anti-trust laws, It can't just be because somebody happens to be dominant and they leverage that in another product. There has to be something where the consumer is practically speaking unable to choose because of said dominance.

  • Spin much? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Demonoid-Penguin ( 1669014 ) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:30PM (#38702086) Homepage

    From the linked article:- Cecelia Prewett, an FTC spokeswoman, declined to comment on the widening of the agency’s investigation.

    I interpret that to read "declined to comment on *claimed* widening of the agency's investigation.

    I don't equate every investigation launched by the FTC as evidence of any wrongdoing - anymore than I equate a Department of Transport investigation into cars taking off from the lights all by themselves. They respond, by nature, to complaints. The complaints don't have to be valid.

    Hint: automotive industry in trouble - find Fiat guilty (of not catering to fat feet). Rinse and repeat the next time the native automotive industry loses sales to a foreign competitor.

If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.